It is hard to believe that we have reached the one year anniversary of the pandemic. It is even more amazing to think about how much our health center partners have achieved in the last year, amidst the devastating impact of COVID-19. As we move through 2021, we will take our partners’ lead — giving them the space they need to care for our communities effectively and safely, while also ensuring they have the tools and guidance to sustain contraceptive care. We also look forward to welcoming new health center partners throughout 2021 that will launch Upstream’s program later in the year.
As you can see below, we are continuing our work to ensure access to contraceptive care throughout the Commonwealth. We are heartened to see the vaccine rollout across Massachusetts, and hope that this incredible effort from our healthcare workers will bring us ever closer to normal. We are excited to deliver for our partners, and acknowledge once again how very much they have already delivered for us.
Contraceptive ACCESS Law News Coverage
We are thrilled to share that Upstream’s recent advocacy efforts around the Massachusetts Contraceptive ACCESS law garnered excellent media coverage in the last month.
Upstream was featured in a Boston.com article that covered the December MassHealth regulation change, as well as Upstream’s efforts to “keep the contraceptive lights on” during the pandemic. Also featured in the article was Dr. Amy Tressan, a family medicine doctor at Cambridge Health Alliance, one of our health center partners!
CommonWealth Magazine published an article covering the challenges faced in implementing the ACCESS law, especially with insurance companies. As a result of this coverage, the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans has committed to launching a public campaign to increase awareness and uptake of the Contraceptive ACCESS law! (See follow-up article)
This success shows the important role Upstream and our partners play in identifying barriers to and gaps in contraceptive services, as well as the impact that targeted advocacy can have on patients across the Commonwealth. We are excited to continue this work in Massachusetts, as we strive to ensure all patients have access to the contraceptive method of their choice.
New Council of Advisors Member
We are excited to announce that Dr. Tara Kumaraswami, Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Program Director at UMass Memorial, has joined the Upstream Massachusetts Council of Advisors.
In addition to leading the OB/GYN Residency Program at UMass Memorial, Dr. Kumaraswami is an Assistant Professor at UMass Medical School.
Dr. Kumaraswami is active in resident and medical student education with a particular focus on contraception, abortion and LGBTQIA healthcare. She views advocacy as an essential part of her job and is pleased to work with multiple organizations across Massachusetts that advocate on behalf of their patients.
We are delighted to work with Dr. Kumaraswami and learn from her expertise as we strive to ensure access to contraceptive care across the Commonwealth.
Welcome, Dr. Kumaraswami!
Patient Education Materials with our Partners
It’s official – our health center partners have their new Patient Education Materials and have begun using them for contraceptive counseling!
Upstream partners who have completed training can access free, digital versions of the materials online in our Partner Portal website. Connect with your Upstream Team to discuss stocking printed versions or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As these materials make their way into the field, we are gathering more learnings so that we can continually refine our approach—emphasizing choice and options throughout. Stay tuned over the next year for updates to the printed materials, including new language translations (Spanish now available!), and updated features to our patient webpage. If you have tips, ideas, or feedback for us, drop us a line at email@example.com.